Professional Development

In the 'ALA Annual' Category...

A belated ALA report

Thursday, August 22, 2013 4:52 pm

Somehow, writing a blog post about my ALA 2013 experience seems to have slipped through the cracks. Could have something to do with the 5 licenses I currently have up in the air, I suppose. So here’s my report, to the best of my (and my notes’) memory. I thought I had some pictures to add, but alas, I can’t find them now, so this may be a boring post.

E-book Data Evaluation

Two presenters, one from a public library system and one from a university library, talked about how they use e-book usage data. The public librarian said that it is difficult, and perhaps invalid, to compare usage of e-books to usage of print books. She pointed out such differences as different loan periods; wait time for holds (much longer for print); overdues (none for e); different user base; e-book collection has more current, frontlist titles, and very few children’s e-books. The university librarian spoke a fair bit about demand-driven acquisition (DDA), but it didn’t sound like his library had any better grasp of things than we do. The bottom lines: be skeptical of the data, and so far no clear patterns are emerging.

Electronic Resource Management Interest Group

Two presenters from university libraries spoke about electronic resource management in the context of multiple user access models. That is, our users are presented with multiple means of accessing data; in our context, we’re talking VuFind, Summon, LibGuides, individual databases, library website, etc. The first speaker pointed out how difficult it is for the average user to navigate between those multiple avenues: If a user links from Summon into VuFind, how easy is it to get back to where they were in Summon? Is it confusing when they suddenly find themselves in a different UI? She challenged us to think about ways to make this environment more user-friendly. The second presenter pointed out that in many cases, we are managing similar data in multiple places. He also encouraged everyone to study information architecture to better understand the searchers’ perspective. Quotable quotes from this session: “We don’t call it cataloging any more; now it’s ‘discovery enhancement’,” and “There is not enough time or resources in the universe to be fully on top of e-resources maintenance.”

BIBFRAME Update

Steve gave a good report of this session in his ALA post. As a reminder, BIBFRAME (short for “bibliographic framework”) is being developed as a way of encoding bibliographic data (simplified version: replacement for MARC). As Steve said, BIBFRAME is still a long way from taking any recognizable form, but Eric Miller, co-founder and president of Zepheira (company working on BIBFRAME), described what I would call the theory behind BIBFRAME. According to Miller, the goal is to “make interconnectedness commonplace.” He compared it to Legos-you can buy them in different sets, but all are interoperable, allowing small bits of data to be joined in interesting ways. They don’t have to tell you in advance what the building blocks will form, just give communities the blocks and allow them to recombine them in ways meaningful to them. Beyond that, most of this session got very technical and was pretty much over my head.

Meeting with publishers & vendors

As usual, a very valuable aspect of ALA is the opportunity to meet with various vendors and publishers and either learn more about what they’re planning, tell them what we want them to plan, or both.

At the Project MUSE User Group breakfast, I learned that Project MUSE will have Highwire manage their computer operations (or something like that) beginning sometime next year. They assured us that they don’t plan to change the user interface; it will stay the same, but with Highwire “under the hood.” The MUSE folks said they are also looking at altmetrics and trying to find ways to measure the “impact” of humanities content. Project MUSE has been offering e-books for a year or two now (from 83 university presses & rising). Their e-books are now available for single-title purchase via YBP. In the Q&A, I asked if they are planning to stick with PDF format, or if they’re thinking of branching out into EPUB or other e-book formats. Answer: PDF for now, but EPUB and “other formats” are “on the radar” with the transition to Highwire. (My translation: don’t hold your breath.)

I also attended ProQuest’s sponsored breakfast, where speaker Megan Oakleaf gave essentially the same talk she gave at NASIG earlier that month, on using data to demonstrate the library’s value, based on things the larger institution values. I did like one example she gave, suggesting we look at course readings listed in Sakai/course syllabi and try to determine how much those readings would cost the students if they had to purchase each article individually. We need to explicitly connect the dots. Following Dr. Oakleaf, a Summon representative talked about the upcoming Summon 2.0. Then Kari Paulson, formerly President of EBL and now head of ProQuest’s combined EBL/ebrary division, talked about her vision for their new e-book venture. I mostly like what she said-striving to give customers more options (i.e. various acquisition models), integration with other ProQuest products, basically take the best of both EBL and ebrary-but it’s difficult to tell at this point how much of that is marketing-speak. But I at least like the overall vision. In a lighter moment, as Paulson began her portion, she quipped, “I no longer have sleepless nights worrying about what ebrary is up to.”

In other vendor interactions, I had a good discussion over lunch with Gale sale rep Matt Hancox, who picked my brain about DDA (and how Gale might enter that arena), and who also gave me a heads up about their parent company Cengage filing for bankruptcy (they’re calling it “debt restructuring,” but it’s business as usual for Gale customers). I also got a chance to meet a couple of vendor e-mail contacts face-to-face. My notes say something about JSTOR’s e-books and DDA, but I don’t remember anything beyond that. And finally (not just last in my report but also last in my conference), I dropped by the Palgrave booth to complain about our stalled license negotiation. We had sent in our request for some changes to the license back in December, and all we had heard back since then was that it was in their lawyer’s queue. I mentioned this to the person standing in the Palgrave booth at ALA, and said that it give the impression that they don’t care about our business. Well, it turns out that the person I was speaking to was in their Marketing department, and she took me very seriously. She said she had a meeting with their Legal department in a couple of weeks and would bring up our conversation. A good way to end the conference, eh? About 3 weeks later I got an e-mail from our Palgrave contact saying that our license was being reviewed by Legal. Nice!

Somehow, writing a blog post about my ALA 2013 experience seems to have slipped through the cracks. Could have something to do with the 5 licenses I currently have up in the air, I suppose. So here’s my report, to the best of my (and my notes’) memory. I thought I had some pictures to add, but alas, I can’t find them now, so this will probably be a boring post.

E-book Data Evaluation

Two presenters, one from a public library system and one from a university library, talked about how they use e-book usage data. The public librarian said that it is difficult, and perhaps invalid, to compare usage of e-books to usage of print books. She pointed out such differences as different loan periods; wait time for holds (much longer for print); overdues (none for e); different user base; e-book collection has more current, frontlist titles, and very few children’s e-books. The university librarian spoke a fair bit about demand-driven acquisition (DDA), but it didn’t sound like his library had any better grasp of things than we do. The bottom lines: be skeptical of the data, and so far no clear patterns are emerging.

Electronic Resource Management Interest Group

Two presenters from university libraries spoke about electronic resource management in the context of multiple user access models. That is, our users are presented with multiple means of accessing data; in our context, we’re talking VuFind, Summon, LibGuides, individual databases, library website, etc. The first speaker pointed out how difficult it is for the average user to navigate between those multiple avenues: If a user links from Summon into VuFind, how easy is it to get back to where they were in Summon? Is it confusing when they suddenly find themselves in a different UI? She challenged us to think about ways to make this environment more user-friendly. The second presenter pointed out that in many cases, we are managing similar data in multiple places. He also encouraged everyone to study information architecture to better understand the searchers’ perspective. Quotable quotes from this session: “We don’t call it cataloging any more; now it’s ‘discovery enhancement’,” and “There is not enough time or resources in the universe to be fully on top of e-resources maintenance.”

BIBFRAME Update

Steve gave a good report of this session in his ALA post [http://cloud.lib.wfu.edu/blog/pd/2013/07/12/steve-at-ala-annual-2013-and-rda-training-at-winthrop-university/]. As a reminder, BIBFRAME (short for “bibliographic framework”) is being developed as a way of encoding bibliographic data (simplified version: replacement for MARC). As Steve said, BIBFRAME is still a long way from taking any recognizable form, but Eric Miller, co-founder and president of Zepheira (company working on BIBFRAME), described what I would call the theory behind BIBFRAME. According to Miller, the goal of BIBFRAME is to “make interconnectedness commonplace.” He compared it to Legos-you can buy them in different sets, but all are interoperable, allowing small bits of data to be joined in interesting ways. They don’t have to tell you in advance what the building blocks will form, just give communities the blocks and allow them to recombine them in ways meaningful to them. Beyond that, most of this session got very technical and was pretty much over my head.

Meeting with publishers & vendors

As usual, a very valuable aspect of ALA is the opportunity to meet with various vendors and publishers and either learn more about what they’re planning, tell them what we want them to plan, or both.

At the Project MUSE User Group breakfast, I learned that Project MUSE will have Highwire manage their computer operations (or something like that) beginning sometime next year. They assured us that they don’t plan to change the user interface; it will stay the same, but with Highwire “under the hood.” The MUSE folks said they are also looking at almetrics and trying to find ways to measure the “impact” of humanities content. Project MUSE has been offering e-books for a year or two now (from 83 university presses & rising). Their e-books are now available for single-title purchase via YBP. In the Q&A, I asked if they are planning to stick with PDF format, or if they’re thinking of branching out into EPUB or other e-book formats. Answer: PDF for now, but EPUB and “other formats” are “on the radar” with the transition to Highwire. (My translation: don’t hold your breath.)

I also attended ProQuest’s sponsored breakfast, where speaker Megan Oakleaf gave essentially the same talk she gave at NASIG earlier that month [http://cloud.lib.wfu.edu/blog/pd/2013/06/26/nasig-2013/], on using data to demonstrate the library’s value, based on things the larger institution values. I did like one example she gave, suggesting we look at course readings listed in Sakai/course syllabi and try to determine how much those readings would cost the students if they had to purchase each article individually. We need to explicitly connect the dots. Following Dr. Oakleaf, a Summon representative talked about the upcoming Summon 2.0. Then Kari Paulson, formerly President of EBL and now head of ProQuest’s combined EBL/ebrary division, talked about her vision for their new e-book venture. I mostly like what she said-striving to give customers more options (i.e. various acquisition models), integration with other ProQuest products, basically take the best of both EBL and ebrary-but it’s difficult to tell at this point how much of that is marketing-speak. But I at least like the overall vision. In a lighter moment, as she began her portion, Paulson quipped, “I no longer have sleepless nights worrying about what ebrary is up to.”

In other vendor interactions, I had a good discussion over lunch with Gale sale rep Matt Hancox, who picked my brain about DDA (and how Gale might get a piece of that pie), and who also gave me a heads up about Cengage filing for bankruptcy (they’re calling it “debt restructuring,” but it’s business as usual for Gale customers). I also got a chance to meet a couple of vendor e-mail contacts face-to-face. My notes say something about JSTOR’s e-books and DDA, but I don’t remember anything beyond that. And finally (not just last in my report but also last in my conference), I dropped by the Palgrave booth to complain about our stalled license negotiation. We had sent in our request for some changes to the license back in December, and all we had heard back since then was that it was in their lawyer’s queue. I mentioned this to the person standing in the Palgrave booth at ALA, and said that it give the impression that they don’t care about our business. Well, it turns out that the person I was speaking to was in their Marketing department, and she took me very seriously. She said she had a meeting with their Legal department in a couple of weeks and would bring up our conversation. A good way to end the conference, eh? About 3 weeks later I got an e-mail from our Palgrave contact saying that our license was (finally) being reviewed by Legal!Somehow, writing a blog post about my ALA 2013 experience seems to have slipped through the cracks. Could have something to do with the 5 licenses I currently have up in the air, I suppose. So here’s my report, to the best of my (and my notes’) memory. I thought I had some pictures to add, but alas, I can’t find them now, so this will probably be a boring post.

E-book Data Evaluation

Two presenters, one from a public library system and one from a university library, talked about how they use e-book usage data. The public librarian said that it is difficult, and perhaps invalid, to compare usage of e-books to usage of print books. She pointed out such differences as different loan periods; wait time for holds (much longer for print); overdues (none for e); different user base; e-book collection has more current, frontlist titles, and very few children’s e-books. The university librarian spoke a fair bit about demand-driven acquisition (DDA), but it didn’t sound like his library had any better grasp of things than we do. The bottom lines: be skeptical of the data, and so far no clear patterns are emerging.

Electronic Resource Management Interest Group

Two presenters from university libraries spoke about electronic resource management in the context of multiple user access models. That is, our users are presented with multiple means of accessing data; in our context, we’re talking VuFind, Summon, LibGuides, individual databases, library website, etc. The first speaker pointed out how difficult it is for the average user to navigate between those multiple avenues: If a user links from Summon into VuFind, how easy is it to get back to where they were in Summon? Is it confusing when they suddenly find themselves in a different UI? She challenged us to think about ways to make this environment more user-friendly. The second presenter pointed out that in many cases, we are managing similar data in multiple places. He also encouraged everyone to study information architecture to better understand the searchers’ perspective. Quotable quotes from this session: “We don’t call it cataloging any more; now it’s ‘discovery enhancement’,” and “There is not enough time or resources in the universe to be fully on top of e-resources maintenance.”

BIBFRAME Update

Steve gave a good report of this session in his ALA post [http://cloud.lib.wfu.edu/blog/pd/2013/07/12/steve-at-ala-annual-2013-and-rda-training-at-winthrop-university/]. As a reminder, BIBFRAME (short for “bibliographic framework”) is being developed as a way of encoding bibliographic data (simplified version: replacement for MARC). As Steve said, BIBFRAME is still a long way from taking any recognizable form, but Eric Miller, co-founder and president of Zepheira (company working on BIBFRAME), described what I would call the theory behind BIBFRAME. According to Miller, the goal of BIBFRAME is to “make interconnectedness commonplace.” He compared it to Legos-you can buy them in different sets, but all are interoperable, allowing small bits of data to be joined in interesting ways. They don’t have to tell you in advance what the building blocks will form, just give communities the blocks and allow them to recombine them in ways meaningful to them. Beyond that, most of this session got very technical and was pretty much over my head.

Meeting with publishers & vendors

As usual, a very valuable aspect of ALA is the opportunity to meet with various vendors and publishers and either learn more about what they’re planning, tell them what we want them to plan, or both.

At the Project MUSE User Group breakfast, I learned that Project MUSE will have Highwire manage their computer operations (or something like that) beginning sometime next year. They assured us that they don’t plan to change the user interface; it will stay the same, but with Highwire “under the hood.” The MUSE folks said they are also looking at almetrics and trying to find ways to measure the “impact” of humanities content. Project MUSE has been offering e-books for a year or two now (from 83 university presses & rising). Their e-books are now available for single-title purchase via YBP. In the Q&A, I asked if they are planning to stick with PDF format, or if they’re thinking of branching out into EPUB or other e-book formats. Answer: PDF for now, but EPUB and “other formats” are “on the radar” with the transition to Highwire. (My translation: don’t hold your breath.)

I also attended ProQuest’s sponsored breakfast, where speaker Megan Oakleaf gave essentially the same talk she gave at NASIG earlier that month [http://cloud.lib.wfu.edu/blog/pd/2013/06/26/nasig-2013/], on using data to demonstrate the library’s value, based on things the larger institution values. I did like one example she gave, suggesting we look at course readings listed in Sakai/course syllabi and try to determine how much those readings would cost the students if they had to purchase each article individually. We need to explicitly connect the dots. Following Dr. Oakleaf, a Summon representative talked about the upcoming Summon 2.0. Then Kari Paulson, formerly President of EBL and now head of ProQuest’s combined EBL/ebrary division, talked about her vision for their new e-book venture. I mostly like what she said-striving to give customers more options (i.e. various acquisition models), integration with other ProQuest products, basically take the best of both EBL and ebrary-but it’s difficult to tell at this point how much of that is marketing-speak. But I at least like the overall vision. In a lighter moment, as she began her portion, Paulson quipped, “I no longer have sleepless nights worrying about what ebrary is up to.”

In other vendor interactions, I had a good discussion over lunch with Gale sale rep Matt Hancox, who picked my brain about DDA (and how Gale might get a piece of that pie), and who also gave me a heads up about Cengage filing for bankruptcy (they’re calling it “debt restructuring,” but it’s business as usual for Gale customers). I also got a chance to meet a couple of vendor e-mail contacts face-to-face. My notes say something about JSTOR’s e-books and DDA, but I don’t remember anything beyond that. And finally (not just last in my report but also last in my conference), I dropped by the Palgrave booth to complain about our stalled license negotiation. We had sent in our request for some changes to the license back in December, and all we had heard back since then was that it was in their lawyer’s queue. I mentioned this to the person standing in the Palgrave booth at ALA, and said that it give the impression that they don’t care about our business. Well, it turns out that the person I was speaking to was in their Marketing department, and she took me very seriously. She said she had a meeting with their Legal department in a couple of weeks and would bring up our conversation. A good way to end the conference, eh? About 3 weeks later I got an e-mail from our Palgrave contact saying that our license was (finally) being reviewed by Legal!

Carolyn at ALA Annual 2013

Monday, July 8, 2013 9:11 pm

My time at ALA was spent going to sessions on cataloging/technical services along with sessions and a committee meeting sponsored by the Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) of ACRL. Below are recaps of some of the sessions I found most meaningful this ALA.

RDA & Audiovisual Cataloging was the first session I attended at ALA in Chicago. This particular session was sponsored by the ALCTS Copy Cataloging Interest Group. Susan Morris, Special Assistant to the Director for Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access at Library of Congress (LC), reported about reductions in LC budgets and staff as well as RDA training for copy catalogers. Tricia Mackenzie, Metadata Librarian at George Mason University, explained and presented differences between cataloging AV materials using AACR2 vs. RDA. Ms. Mackenzie stated that the OLAC group (Online Audiovisual Catalogers) is currently working on best practices for DVD cataloging. Additionally, two librarians from Troy University spoke about their experiences cataloging AV materials in RDA for a multi-campus library and maintaining consistency in the process. Procedures were documented using a wiki. RDA training was provided not only to catalogers and acquisitions staff but to staff in public services because they are the ones who interact daily with patrons and will have to explain changes in the way resources are being displayed in the OPAC. Comparison documents of records cataloged in AACR2 and RDA were provided to help explain the differences.

Next-generation Technical Services: Improving Access and Discovery through Collaboration featured speakers from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) and from the Orbis Cascade Alliance which is comprised of 37 universities, colleges, and community colleges in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Martha Hruska of UCSD briefly described UC’s ten campus system and its culture. She stated that funding cuts in the last five years averaged 20% and were not expected to be restored. Backlogs in cataloging and archival processing were growing (100,000+ items and 13.5 miles respectively), and for example in 2011, 1.8 trillion GB of data was created. The UC system needed to find a better, more efficient way to make their growing resources more discoverable as well as reduce work redundancy. In response to a question from the audience, the speaker indicated that centralization of services is not practiced in the UC culture, but collaboration is. Collaboration in collection development, technical services, and digital initiatives along with seeking financial and technical infrastructure for collaboration were established as goals by the UC system. Defining cataloging record standards served as the basis for collaborative cataloging work among campuses. Inventoried backlogs and examination of technical services staff members’ expertise helped in the development of a system-wide collections services staff. Building versus acquiring digital asset management systems software was investigated by members of the UC system. To accelerate processing of archival and manuscript collections, the Archivists’ Toolkit was deployed system-wide, minimal collection record specifications were defined, and “more product, less process” practices were implemented. Representatives from the Orbis Cascade Alliance discussed their experience with DDA ebooks collaboration. They identified challenges in the areas of workflow development, staffing, and levels of expertise. Foreign language materials catalogers provided assistance in cataloging select consortial libraries’ foreign language materials, but sustainability in this assistance was found to be problematic. Collaboration is slow and not always the answer. A safe environment is needed to expose one’s ignorance and allows others to query one’s processes.

Studying Ourselves: Libraries and the User Experience panel program was presented by ACRL’s ANSS in collaboration with the University Library Section. The room was packed with attendees. The first speaker was Dr. Andrew Abbott, sociology professor at the University of Chicago, who stated scholars do not use libraries the way librarians think they do or should do. “Aimless behavior” is the term he used, and librarians’ problem is to discover the logic in this behavior. What are the routines and strategies of researchers? Surveys have indicated that observation and interviews do not work, but self ethnography can be a discovery tool. He has taught classes in library methods in the social sciences. Moving away from exercises, the course is about project management, not in how to manage things. Library research is about finding something for which you ought to have been looking. Students are good at finding things, but they don’t know what to ignore. No student’s research project ends up being about the thing in which they came into the library to research initially. We (i.e. librarians) need to figure out how we do research in order to teach others. We should ethnographize ourselves and keep an accurate documented account of our habits. Expert library users don’t have an idea of how they do what they do. Having to think about and document our own processes would greatly assist in our teaching students how to conduct research and become expert researchers themselves. In 2011, Dr. Abbott published the article “Library research infrastructure for humanistic and social scientific scholarship in the twentieth century,” in Social Knowledge in the Making, Charles Camic et al., eds., University of Chicago Press.

Dr. Andrew Asher, Assessment Librarian at Indiana University, Bloomington, began his talk discussing how anthropological studies in libraries have expanded over the last several years. With most of the research being conducted in the 70′s, few books have been published on the studies of college students. Titles mentioned included:

  • Coming of Age in New Jersey: College and American Culture (1989) by Michael Moffatt
  • Educated in Romance: Women, Achievement, and College Culture (1990) by Dorothy Holland & Margaret Eisenhart
  • My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student (2005) by Rebekah Nathan
  • My Word! Plagiarism and College Culture (2009) by Susan Blum
  • Studying Students: the Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester (2007) edited by Nancy Foster and Susan Gibbons

And yes, ZSR has all in its collection!

Dr. Asher proceeded to discuss the Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries Project (i.e ERIAL Project) that was conducted to determine how students find and use information for their academic assignments and to determine the social context of these assignments. Dr. Asher holds a Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology and was the Lead Research Anthropologist for the project. Methods utilized include interviewing, observation, visual, and mapping (e.g. time use, drawing library maps). Filmed interviews were conducted for a research process assignment and revealed things that would likely not be assessed in an information literacy test. To discover the context of why people come to the library and spaces where they did work, students were asked to keep mapping diaries. Using a six-minute time frame, cognitive maps were drawn by students using three different colors of ink (red, blue, and green) with changes in ink color every two minutes. From the drawings it was discovered that librarians were invisible; students did not know where the librarians’ offices were located. In addition, books often didn’t appear in the maps, Books appeared to be secondary to other functions which the library serves. The library was seen as a social space. Results of the study were published in 2011 by the American Library Association in College Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know, edited by Dr. Asher and Lynda Duke. ZSR has this title too! A toolkit for doing an ethnographic research project in one’s library is available on the ERIAL Project web site.

Diane Wahl, User Experience Librarian at the University of North Texas, headed up an ethnographic research study at her university. She attended a CLIR (Council on Library and Information Resources) workshop conducted by Nancy Foster from the University of Rochester. She stated there was no charge for the workshop; her only expense was for travel. Following the workshop, Ms. Wahl reached out to her universities anthropology and sociology departments’ faculty because they are always looking for projects in which their students can be involved. Review of LibQual responses from dissatisfied online students, graduate students, and new faculty provided a starting point for the research study. Recruitment for student researchers was handled through various channels (i.e. Blackboard, announcements to faculty). Some faculty gave extra credit for participating students. Methods utilized in the study included observations, focus groups and interviews. The sampling of individuals studied was one of convenience and purposeful; Ms. Wahl specifically wanted to hear from a specific segment of the university student population. Challenges encountered during the study included time zones, non-traditional student schedules, and technology. From the data collected, she found that students wanted access to library services through Blackboard. Additionally from the perspectives shared by students with disabilities, the library now has a disability training awareness program for library employees along with a brochure listing available services for library users with disabilities.

This particular session was the most interesting of the ones I attended at this ALA. I now have several books to add to my professional reading list. One more thing to add about the greatness of this session, a Good Humor ice cream freezer with various treats was provided to attendees, and my favorite Good Humor treat was available: the Strawberry Shortcake ice cream bar. Yum yum!

 

 

 

Hu’s ALA 2013 Wrap-up

Friday, July 5, 2013 3:39 pm

I spent ALA wearing two hats, my tech geek hat (which is a bit old and dusty) and my reference librarian hat (which is a much better fit these days!) Streaming the LITA Top Tech Trends and the LITA President’s Program gave me an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and dust off that tech geek hat. It was nerve-racking to pull of the streaming, but it forced me to learn some new skills and it gave me a chance to work with a great committee and meet some interesting people on the Top Tech Trends panel! (And it gave me a great excuse to buy a cool, new MacBook Pro!) You can check out the less than perfect results of my streaming video at the links below:

Cory Doctorow onVimeo
https://vimeo.com/69711015
Top Tech Trends onVimeo
https://vimeo.com/69648058
Streaming LITA Top Tech Trends

Streaming LITA Top Tech Trends

While wearing my reference librarian hat, I attended an interesting session on screen sharing for reference questions. The two applications discussed were Google+ hangouts and Join.me. I really like the idea of screen sharing as a way of enhancing our virtual reference, the trick seems to be making it as easy as chat! There are issues to using Google+ hangouts in our computing environment, but I’m confident that we will get past those issues at some point and need to consider how to best incorporate screen sharing into our services.

So to recap, there is a reason they call it a comfort zone and I’m happy I don’t have to spend all my time outside of it!

Lauren C. at ALA Annual 2013, Chicago

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 8:51 pm

I spent a lot of time talking to vendors about e-books and library systems; saw a cool DVD dispenser by PIKinc.; went to a discussion group on offsite storage; and heard The Myth and the Reality of the Evolving Patron: The RUSA President’s Program with Lee Rainie (Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project).

I agree with Wanda that the logistics for Chicago are not great, but that this was one of my best conferences; when I found that I could not get from one pertinent session to another quickly enough, half of my agenda went to the exhibits. (Freedom from committee obligations for the first time in years probably contributed to time spent with vendors too.)

ZSR and EBL e-books

I made some advance appointments to discuss ZSR business regarding e-books while at ALA and those went well. I attended a closed session on EBL’s different models for e-books with consortia and discovered that a new model is about to be tried out by Novanet and NY3Rs. Present from ASERL and participating in the discussion: John Burger, Executive Director of ASERL; Nancy Gibbs, Duke University; and me. Tom Sanville from Lyrasis was also present. Publishers, vendors and libraries are still trying to find a model that works well for all. In one consortium where not every member participates in the group e-book arrangement, but the consortium has a shared catalog, they were trying to come up with a way to allow the non-participating libraries to have short-term loan access at least and the method for payment is a stumbling block. ILL was mentioned as a way to deal with that, maybe with a credit card payment option since ILL already makes purchases with credit cards. I also attended a presentation by David Whitehair from OCLC and a representative from VIVA about OCLC Worldshare Metadata Collection Manager. This is what EBL is going to use for managing DDA files of adds/updates/deletes so I was glad to gain a better understanding. (I wondered if this tool would help Carolyn with the Archivist’s Toolkit cataloging since OCLC said that records don’t have to be in MARC — the institutional knowledge base (kb) can handle Dublin Core and MODS as well.) This is included with our cataloging subscription, so no extra cost for us to implement the kb.

WorldShare Metadata Collection Manager allows you to define and configure your e-book and other electronic collections in one place, and automatically receive initial and updated customized WorldCat MARC records for all e-titles from one source, providing your users access to the titles and content from within the local library catalog or other discovery interface.

Library Systems: Kuali, Ex Libris, OCLC

I had a real awakening on the rapid changes with the commercial ILS vendors. I’ve been following Kuali OLE developments and was disappointed to learn in a session that they are still working towards release 1.0. Jim Mouw announced that University of Chicago (a development partner) will cut completely over to OLE in July of 2014, so they are getting closer. Between now and then, Chicago will also switch from Aquabrowser to VuFind.

The University of Windsor is switching from Evergreen (an open source ILS that many public libraries adopted) to Alma, the next-generation system from Ex Libris. At the Ex Libris booth, I got a custom demo and peppered them with a lot of questions. Then I went to the OCLC booth and did the same thing. I heard a lot of similarities in the way those two systems are supposed to operate and here are two key pieces:

  • no more logging in to different modules — you log into the system once and what you’re allowed to interact with is based on the permissions that have been set
  • pushing and pulling big batches of data and updates to data is facilitated through lots of APIs

The real question is how well they will work in the variety of library environments. For instance, a salesman told me that MARCedit would be unnecessary and demonstrated how to edit the 856|z, but upon questioning, he thought it was record by record, not global editing for a batch. Case in point, right? OCLC has just over 100 libraries using their product right now with a couple hundred more signed (according to our sales rep) and Ex Libris is not far behind in gaining contracts for Alma. I think the next couple of years of library migrations will expose the weaknesses and result in upgrades to better fit real world practices. Meanwhile OLE and Intota from Proquest will need to be pushing hard to catch up and prove why they might be better in the long run.

Library Storage Discussion Group (LLAMA)

The main thing I learned that may be useful to us is that if you weed from an offsite storage facility, even if you have AIMS, “you have to re-tray” because trying to fill the hole later doesn’t work well. I saw colleagues from Georgia and learned that Emory and Georgia Tech are moving to a joint storage facility. (This type of private/public cooperation was only a dream when I left Emory and it is cool to learn that it really is going to happen, 5 years later.) I had the opportunity to explain about the role of the storage facility for the ASERL journal retention program, now branded Scholar’s Trust. (BTW, Carol Cramer helped with the naming process.)

The Myth and the Reality of the Evolving Patron: The RUSA President’s Program with Lee Rainie

Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project,shared some interesting highlights from surveying about public libraries and while the link to the recording is above, you can login to ALA Connect for the slides which he said would also be posted to Pew.org eventually. These are my highlights from his talk:

  • Public library patrons are people who like the old services and don’t want changes and people who love the new, both — so libraries and other companies are dealing with the pain of not being able to do everything and are not able to meet all desires.
  • Parents are the best public library lovers — everything is wonderful.
  • Of those who seek the help of librarian, half are in households with an income of under $30,000 and are African American.
  • Young people appreciate a quiet place to sit and study or listen to music.
  • Only 13% use the library’s website.
  • Scarcity and abundance flipped: Time is the new scarcity, not the info. There is a gap between being predisposed to be affectionate and being affectionate — save the patrons’ time and they will love the library. Online learning and online reference are desirable.

Last Hurrah

I rarely have found time at conferences to do much touring and have always wished to see “the Bean” (a sculpture really called Cloud Gate) at Millennium Park. When I learned on Monday that it was only 2 blocks from the restaurant where I was having lunch, I decided to see it, even if it meant I was a little close for comfort in getting to the airport.

Kyle at ALA Annual in Chicago

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 4:20 pm

I learned lots of things at ALA, but one thing I learned almost right away: bring numerous pairs of comfortable shoes. I had heard people say that, and my standard-issue brown slip-ons are *kind of* comfortable (and hey! they go with everything! I only have to pack one pair!), so I mostly ignored all of the advice. After walking all over downtown Chicago, around the massive McCormick Place conference center, and from the conference center back to my hotel on one ill-advised 3.5 mile afternoon stroll, my blisters became a constant reminder of my hubris.

Here are my top three things from #ala2013, in no particular order:

ACRL Immersion Teaching with Technology

You may have heard of (or even participated in) the ACRL Immersion program for information literacy instructors. Usually, participants stay together in one place for a few days in an intensive workshop environment. I’m lucky enough to have been selected as part of the inaugural class of the Immersion Teaching with Technology (TwT) track, run by Immersion faculty Char Booth and Tiffini Travis. TwT is a whole new model: the 60 or so of us spent all day Friday engaged in a rather intense face-to-face workshop, but we’ll be spending the next five weeks in an online community as we design projects for our libraries. The idea is to instill in us a design mindset when it comes to instruction, instructional technologies, and accessibility, and to connect us to a greater community of practice. The first day was awesome–I connected with some amazing librarians who are doing some really cool stuff. My project will be to create an online course (in this case, the Parents Online Learning Community we’ve been talking about) using Char’s USER model of instructional design. Excited isn’t the word.

Talks about MOOCs and Online Learning

As you might expect, I’m very interested in the library’s role in massive open online learning. Literally no one was talking about MOOCs at ALA last year. This year, I heard of at least five sessions (my poster (PDF) and discussion group being two of them) talking explicitly about MOOCs, but I’m sure there were plenty of others. I heard some really interesting thoughts, the best of which, in my opinion, came from Kevin Smith at Duke. In a SPARC discussion group that Molly dragged me to (thanks, Molly!), Kevin countered the arguments of those who claim MOOCs are too expensive and offer too little return on investment, when he challenged us to think of MOOCs not as potential revenue streams so much as doing research on pedagogy. Viewed in this light, MOOCs are cheap when compared to other research fields.

Connecting with People

I have a really bad record when it comes to picking sessions, but I somehow manage to bat 1.000 when connecting to new people. And I connected (or reconnected) to lots of really amazing people. There’s Bill Marino, the elearning librarian at Eastern Michigan University, who is building an online course for graduate students that’s almost exactly what Molly and I want to build in a project we’re just staring to work on. There’s Tasha Bergson-Michelson, a search educator at Google, who has to have one of the coolest jobs in the world, and who was really jazzed to hear about ZSRx. And there’s Laura White, an LIS student at UT-Austin and former student employee at the University of Missouri Libraries, who credits me with inspiring her to go to library school when I was her student supervisor.

That last part made the blisters worth it.

Report from Susan’s Favorite ALA Annual Conference Site

Monday, July 1, 2013 7:27 am

ALA Annual Conference at McCormick Place

ALA Annual Conference 2013 @ McCormick Place, Chicago

I always prided myself (not sure why, but that’s probably just another of my issues) on staying on top of daily conference posts on this professional development blog. I find that I am better able to relay information in short spurts (hmm, maybe it’s my newspaper background in play?). And, I will admit to all of you who know me well, that I experienced some small sense of failure when I saw Hu’s Saturday conference post and read Lynn’s comment “you win the prize for the first ALA post”! I think I have fallen victim to the pervasiveness of social media that makes it so simple to snap a photo while sitting in a session or visiting the exhibit hall and then posting it immediately to Facebook with a very short explanation. I have been much more active on Facebook this weekend in capturing what I’ve been up to.

As you know from Hu’s and Thomas’ posts, we jumped right into action Friday afternoon by attending the LITA 101 program. Even though I’ve been active in LITA for many years, this was my first time at this session which is designed to introduce people to LITA. Usually, my plane doesn’t arrive in time to attend, but we had an early direct flight on Friday so were able to be there. It was very well attended and lots of good information was provided to new attendees.

If I had to pick my “themes” for this conference, they would be renovating spaces and assessment. I focused on these types of programs because we are trying to hone in on how to make our 5 year building plan a reality. Part of this has to do with learning as much as possible about how our spaces might be imagined. Another important component of enhancing the probability of making progress on this plan comes with assessment. We need to figure out what data will best support our plan and then how to use that data the most effective way. Since I will be on the ZSR Assessment Committee this coming year, it was useful to sit in on sessions that dealt with that.

Renovating Spaces: I attended an session with the interesting title “The Culture House.” This is a term used to describe the expansion of libraries beyond their original purpose: “in response to a world that is increasingly interconnected, and at the same time, limited in its resources, libraries are being combined with complementary, or even seemingly disparate, functions.” The speakers talked about their particular projects/libraries. My favorite project was the Bozeman Pubic Library and Scupture Garden that was a superfund site because the building renovated was an old asbestos filled train depot. It was the first LEED building in Montana and it was designed to be very integrated with the community through its exterior space that includes a sculpture garden and an outdoor plaza that is used for community events. They also have an active art collection that has 112 museum quality pieces that rotate. Their website has a great interactive map that shows their artwork locations. Another interesting project came from the Pike’s Peak Library System that is located in a 100,000 square foot building. The library only needed 30,000 SF so they found innovative ways to fill the space including creation labs (maker spaces), performance spaces and business incubation spaces.

I attended two LLAMA/BES sessions: the first was a panel discuss by previous winners of the biennial ALA/IIDA Library Interior Design Award that recognizes projects that “demonstrate excellence in aesthetics, design, creativity, function, and satisfaction of the client’s objective.” The libraries in this program were Fleet Library at RISD (the 2008 winner for historical renovation; Office dA, Inc.),the Robert Woodruff Library at Atlanta University Center (2012 winner of single space, here a learning commons; Shepley Bulfinch) and the Anacostia Public Library (Public Libraries under 30,000 sf). This project was done by Freelon, the architectural group that is working with us on our new atrium floor.

The second session was about planning digital collaborative spaces. I particularly liked Jeff Vredevoogd’s (Director, Herman Miller Education) presentation. He talked about an interesting term that is used by Herman Miller – hub zones. These are what they call collaborative spaces and they do research to determine what makes a space “hubbable.” In research to determine what types of learning, working and socializing needs are driving the need for hub zones, they found this breakdown:

  • 72% collaboration group work
  • 36% individual work
  • 36% interactions /socializing
  • 33% computer/technology access
  • 26% meeting space

They also do an annual student video contest and last year’s question for the contest was “where’s your hub?” This year’s question is a really interesting one: “What makes a great learning space? You have 5 minutes with the president. What would you tell him?” (No comment on the fact the speaker used “he” when referencing the president…). He closed by offering the audience his insights on planning for collaborative spaces:

  • One size does not fit all
  • Focus on the user
  • Test small, think big
  • Right mix of technology and furniture
  • Learn from others
  • Next big thing may not be for you.
  • Blurring lines with corporate spaces
  • Think differently about specialty spaces
  • When you can…future proof.

Assessment: I am already way beyond my self imposed posting length limit, so I am going to skip discussing my assessment theme. I’ll save all that information (which would make some eyes glaze over anyway) and share it with this year’s Assessment Committee. I got several good ideas for approaches we might want to take. OK I’ll just mention one, which was a methodology that was new to me: VOC (Voice of the Customer). A group at Emory used this method to ‘deep dive’, in other words to get in-depth information more than you might get from some other methods. They also found that these individual interviews were easier to schedule than trying to form a focus group.

Finally, as usual, I also carved out a bit of time to check out the exhibit hall (which continues to inhibit me with its very vastness).

Riding the Escalators at McCormick Place

Conference attendees at McCormick Place with Exhibit Hall in the background

 

Roz at ALA

Saturday, June 29, 2013 10:22 pm

My ALA started on Friday with an all-day ProQuest User Group meeting. This was the first time ProQuest had done one of these and it was really, really useful. Their goal was to hear from librarians about a variety of issues and to update us on what is coming with ProQuest products. I spent the first breakout period in a session about eBooks. Leslie Lee, the new product developer (among many other things) for the Ebrary/EBL product led the session. He asked really good questions of the group about the level of comfort with ebooks from our various constituencies, how we budget for ebooks, what our thoughts were about different pricing models (like platform fees vs. higher per-title prices), and what the one thing we would want from a new platform. The discussion was wide ranging and covered things like how we need to rethink departmental-specific budgets, the need for better ways to get books on mobile devices, and the rich data ebooks can give us about our users and their habits. The second and third sessions I went to were both about Summon. The first one was about the new features upcoming in the next big iteration of Summon. These features are really exciting and include bringing background/reference content to the user in a separate panel on the results page, morecustomizability, spotlighting content by format (think Google Images, News, etc), automated query expansion (if you search ‘heart attack’ it will also search ‘myocardial infarction’ as well) and some others. I can’t wait to see the new features in action. We will get access to a test site in mid July and then will go live at some point before January 31st 2014. Then we broke out into discussion tables. I joined a table that looked at the way libraries are managing Summon after the implementation is over. It was clear that we had more questions than answers. Who is ultimately responsible for keeping up with changes/features in Summon? A single person – a team – an advisory group?? how are decisions made about how to configure new features, etc. Vote? Benign dictatorship? It dawned on me that we probably need to give more deliberate attention to Summon to be sure it is as good as we can make it for our users. I’ll get a group together later in the summer to discuss all these new features and how we want to handle them.

All in all it was a very useful meeting. ProQuest very intentionally did a lot of listening and not any selling of their products. They really wanted to hear what we like, don’t like and what we feel is missing the landscapes of products they provide.

My Saturday was filled mostly with committee meetings for the Law and Political Science Section. I am the outgoing chair of the Marta Lange awards committee (our luncheon is tomorrow) and a member of the 2014 Program Planning Committee for the Las Vegas conference. We decided that our program in Las Vegas will be about water issues in the Southwest. Should be really good. I hit the exhibits – found out that the NY Times now has site licenses for libraries and got a good look at the new Statistical Datasets product. Will go back tomorrow for more vendor floor schmoozing.

Thomas at ALA 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 4:42 pm

Thomas went to ALA in Anaheim also – he’s just slower than most about writing it up.

“Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?” or “All Your Metadata Are Belong To Us”

Maybe it was the looming shadow of the Disney overlords, or maybe it was the Ex Libris Alma webinar I attended the week before. Regardless, I thought I should check out the global domination plans of a couple of organizations with the potential to exert monolithic, or even monopolistic, control over data and metadata we depend on every day.

First up was a session on OCLC’s WorldShare Platform, about which you should know two things right off the bat. First, WorldShare is this year’s marketing term that either subsumes or replaces last year’s Webscale; both are intended to drive home the idea that their stuff works on a hugely bigger scale than, say, your local ILS. Second, OCLC will be using the word Platform a lot for the foreseeable future. Because having a massive database of cataloging and holdings data is okay, but it’s much more useful to make it a resource that clever programmers and developers can build thing on (hence “platform”). A couple of important points:

  • Data is equally available to everyone [where everyone is defined as “libraries with active subscriptions to one or more OCLC product”]
  • OCLC is creating an app store where everyone else will be able download the apps other libraries have created [following QC and approval by OCLC]

The result OCLC is hoping for is a robust set of mash-ups that doing interesting things with OCLC data and encourage more libraries to do development with the WorldShare APIs. The cynic in me points out that OCLC needs to make all their services mash-up-able anyway, as they continue to build a dis-integrated library system, so they might as well grab some developer street cred by making the APIs available.

I followed up my OCLC session with two Proquest/SerialsSolutions sessions. First was Summoncamp, an informal intro, update, and rap session about the Summon discovery service. A couple of eye openers for me: the Summon database now includes over 950 million items, about half of them newspaper articles. (You kids these days, with your billion-record databases. I remember when OCLC only had 10 million, and we counted ourselves lucky, dadgummit.) Also, the entire database is reindexed every night. I asked them to repeat that, because it just didn’t sound possible. Also, some new content sources and display options that some of us have already discussed in other forums, but seriously, they reindex 950M records every night.

After that I went to an InTota presentation. This is SerialsSolutions’ forthcoming “single, centrally provisioned solution that manages the entire resource lifecycle regardless of format.” My takeaways: First, any problems, inefficiencies, or duplication of effort in our current workflow are due to the fact that parts of it are not under the control of SerialsSolutions. Second, buzzwords aside, this is a new ILS (if the president of the company says, “We’ll know we succeeded when you unplug your current ILS”, it’s an ILS). Third, any vendor who wants to lock you into a product hosted on their server is now calling it a cloud solution.

Meanwhile, on the free-as-in-kittens front (and this is going to be a lot of kittens), the folks behind the open source Kuali OLE system gave a presentation. Kuali is an organization with ambitious plans, and some proven successes, in building open source software for higher ed. Kuali OLE (Open Library Environment) is yet another forthcoming new ILS. Unlike other open source catalogs, it’s designed for academic libraries from the ground up. It’s really just starting to take shape: software version 0.6 came out just before ALA, version 0.8 is due out in October, and version 1.0 is scheduled for the first quarter of 2013. The University of Chicago and Lehigh University have already committed to starting to use it next year. What does it look like right now? Like a version 0.6 acquisitions module. But it has a lot of people committed to bringing this project off.

“You truly belong with us among the clouds” or “Look, I came here for an argument!”

This year’s Ultimate Debate program was, basically, “Which of our panelists can say the most sensible things about cloud computing?” I may not have that title exactly right, but in any case there was broad consensus (so… not a debate) that cloud computing is a mostly good thing but not a panacea, and that the overuse of “cloud” as a marketing term for any online service is making it meaningless, and you should really read the fine print before entrusting your mission-critical data to any third party.

“Well, this is depressing – how long till Battledecks?”

Three librarians from Arizona State University presented “Streaming Video – It Takes a Village,” about how they created their own streaming video server using open source tools. Unfortunately it came out as more of a cautionary tale than a success story: they counted up hundreds of person-hours for four or five staff members, determined that they needed a full time PHP developer, and ended up with a system that doesn’t support iPad users. They loaded a planned first batch of 40 videos (about 400GB of data) and have no plans to load any more into the system. They didn’t mention server, storage, or bandwidth costs. I’m sure we could implement a better solution with fewer headaches, but it’s still a depressing reminder of the real costs involved in supporting online media in any big way.

And in other depressing events, I am now chair of the LITA Publications Committee, which means I have to do real work at ALA from now on.

Carolyn at ALA Annual 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012 7:29 pm

Early Saturday morning, I attended a 4 hour panel discussion on linked data (LD) and next generation catalogs. I wanted to gain a better understanding of what exactly linked data is since that term is batted about frequently in the literature. I will try to explain it to the best of my ability, but I still have much to learn. So here it goes.

Uniform resource identifiers (URI) is a string of characters used to identify names for “things”. Specifically, HTTP URIs should be used so that people are able to look up those names. Useful information should be provided with URIs, as well as, links to other URIs so that individuals can discover even more useful things.Per Corey Harper, NYU’s Metadata Services Librarian, we need to start thinking about metadata as a graph instead of string based as is most of our data currently. Typed “things” are named by URIs, and relationships between “things” are also built on URIs. LD allows users to move back and forth between information sources where the focus is on identification rather than description.

Mr. Harper provided several examples of LD sites available on the Web, some of which individuals and institutions may contribute data. Google owned Freebase is a community curated collection of RDF data of about 21 million “things”. Freebase provides a link to Google Refine that allows individuals to dump their metadata, clean it up, and then link it back to Freebase. Thinkbase displays the contents of Freebase utilizing mindmap to explore millions of interconnected topics.

Phil Schreur, who is the head of the Metadata Department for Stanford University libraries, talked about shattering the catalog, freeing the data, and linking the pieces. Today’s library catalogs are experiencing increased stressors such as:

  • Pressure to be inclusive–the more is better approach as seen with Google
  • Loss of cataloging–the acceptance and use of vendor bulk records; by genericizing our catalogs, we are weakening our ties to our user/collection community
  • Variations in metadata quality
  • Supplementary data–should the catalog just be an endless supply of links
  • Bibliographic records–catalogers spend lots of time tinkering with them
  • Need for a relational database for discovery–catalogs are domain silos that are unlinked to anything else
  • Missing or hidden metadata–universities are data creation powerhouses (e.g. reading lists, course descriptions, student research/data sets, faculty collaborations/lectures); these are often left out of catalog, and it would be costly to include them

Linked open data is the solution along with some reasons why:

  • It puts information on the Web and eliminates Google as our users’ first choice
  • Expands discoverability
  • Opens opportunities for creative innovation
  • Continuous improvement of data
  • Creates a store of machine-actionable data–semantic meaning in MARC record is unintelligible to machines
  • Breaks down silos
  • Provides direct access to data based in statements and not in records–less maintenance of catalog records
  • Frees ourselves from a parochial metadata model to a more universal one

Schreur proceeded to discuss 4 paradigm shifts involving data.

  1. Data is something that is shared and is built upon, not commodified. Move to open data, not restricted records.
  2. Move from bibliographic records to statements linked by RDF. One can reach into documents at chapter and document level.
  3. Capture data at point of creation. The model of creating individual bibliographic records cannot stand. New means of automated data will need to be developed.
  4. Manage triplestores; not adding more records to catalog. The amount of data is overwhelming. Applications will need to be developed to bring in data.

He closed by stating the notion of authoritative is going to get turned on its head. The Web is already doing that. Sometimes Joe Blow knows more than the national library. This may prove difficult for librarians and catalogers to accept since our work has revolved around authoritative sources and data.

OCLC’s Ted Fons spoke about WorldCat.org”s June 20, 2012 adoption of schema.org descriptive mark-up to its database. Schema.org is a collaboration between Bing, Google, Yahoo, and Russian search index Yandex and is an agreed ontology for harvesting structured data from the web. The reasons behind doing this includes:

  • Makes library data appear more relevant in search engine results
  • Gain position of authority in data modeling in a post-MARC era
  • Promote internal efficiency and new services

Jennifer Bowen, Chair of the eXtensible Catalog Organization, believes LD can help libraries assist and fulfill new roles in the information needs of our users. Scholars want their research to be findable by others, and they want to connect with others. Libraries are being bypassed not only by Google and the Web, but users are also going to tailored desktops, mobile, and Web apps. Libraries need to push their collections to mobile apps and LD allows us to do just that. Hands-on experience with LD to understand its potential and to develop LD best practices is needed. We need to create LD for our local resources (e.g. Institutional Repository) to showcase special collections. Vendors need to be encouraged to implement LD now! Opportunities for creative innovation in digital scholarship and participation can be fostered by utilizing LD.

A tool that will enable libraries to move from its legacy data to LD is needed. The eXtensible Catalog (XC) is open source software for libraries and provides a discovery system and set of tools available for download. It provides a platform for risk-free experimentation with metadata transformation/reuse. RDF/XML, RDFa, and SPARQL are 3 methods of bulk creating metadata. XC converts MARC data to FRBR entities and enables us to produce more meaningful LD. Reasons to use FRBR for LD include:

  • User research shows that users want to see the relationships between resources, etc. Users care about relationships.
  • Allows scholars to create LD statements as part of the scholarly process. Vocabularies are created and managed. Scholars’ works become more discoverable.
  • Augments metadata.

The old model of bibliographic data creation will continue for some time. We are at the beginning of the age of data, and the amount of work is crushing. Skills in cataloging is what is needed in this new age, but a recasting of what we do and use is required. We are no longer the Cataloging Department but the Metadata Department. The tools needed to create data and make libraries’ unique collections available on the Web will change, and catalogers should start caring more about the context and curation of metadata and learning LD vocabulary.

While this was my second visit to Anaheim, CA to attend ALA’s Annual Conference, it was my first time ever presenting at a national conference. On Sunday morning starting at 8 am, Erik Mitchell and I hosted and convened the panel discussion, Current Research on and Use of FRBR in Libraries. The title of our individual presentation was FRBRizing Mark Twain.

We began the session with a quick exploration of some of the metadata issues that libraries are encountering as we explore new models including FRBR and linked open data. Erik and I discussed our research which explored metadata quality issues that arose when we applied the FRBR model to a selected set of records in ZSR’s catalog. The questions to our research were two-fold:

  1. What metadata quality problems arise in application of FRBRization algorithms?
  2. How do computational and expert approaches compare with regards to FRBRization?

So in a nutshell, this is how we did it:

  1. Erik extracted 848 catalog records on books either by or about Mark Twain.
  2. He extracted data from the record set and normalized text keys from elements of the metadata.
  3. Data was written to a spreadsheet and loaded into Google Refine to assist with analysis.
  4. Carolyn grouped records into work-sets and created a matrix of unique identifiers.
  5. Because of metadata variation, Carolyn performed a secondary analysis using book-in-hand approach for 5 titles (approx. 100 books).
  6. Expert review found 410 records grouped in 147 work-sets with 2 or more expressions and 420 records grouped into 420 single expression work sets. Lost/missing or checked out books were not looked at and account for the numbers not adding up to the 848 records in the record set.
  7. Metadata issues encountered included the need to represent whole/part or manifestation to multiple work relationships, metadata inconsistency (i.e. differences in record length, composition, invalid unique identifiers), and determining work boundaries.
  8. Utilizing algorithms, Erik performed a computational assessment to identify and group work-sets.
  9. Computational and expert assessments were compared to each other.

Erik and I were really excited to see that computational techniques were largely as successful as expert techniques. We found, for example, that normalized author/title strings created highly accurate keys for identifying unique works. On the other hand, we also found that MARC metadata did not always contain the metadata needed to identify works entirely. Our detailed findings will be presented at the ASIS&T conference in October. Here are our slides:

Current Research on and Use of FRBR in Libraries

Our other invited speakers included:

  • OCLC’s Chief Scientist Thom Hickey who spoke about clustering at the FRBR entity 1 work level OCLC’s database, which is under 300 million records, and clustering within work-sets by expression using algorithm keys; FRBR algorithm creation and development; and the fall release of GLIMIR which attempts to cluster WorldCat’s records and holdings for the same work at the manifestation level.
  • Kent State’s School of Information and Library Science professors Drs. Athena Salaba and Yin Zhang discussed their IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) funded project, a FRBR prototype catalog. Library of Congress cataloging records were extracted from WorldCat to create a FRBRized catalog. Users were tested to see if they could complete a set of user tasks in the library’s current catalog and in the prototype.
  • Jennifer Bowen, Chair of XC organization and Assistant Dean for Information Management Services at the University of Rochester, demonstrated the XC catalog to the audience. The XC project didn’t set out to see if people liked FRBR, but what are our users trying to do with the catalog’s data. According to Ms. Bowen, libraries are/should be moving away from thinking we know what users need to what do users need to do in their research. How do users keep current in their field? In regards to library data, we need to ask our users, “What would they do with a magic wand?” and continue to ponder “What will the user needs of the future be?

Following our session, I attended a packed room of librarians eager to hear more about Library of Congress’ (LC) Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative (BFI) which is looking to translate the MARC21 format, a 40 year old standard, to a LD model. LC has contracted with Zepheira to help accelerate the launch of BFI. By August/September, an LD working draft will hopefully be ready to present to the broader library community.

Lauren C. at ALA Annual 2012, Anaheim

Monday, July 9, 2012 5:18 pm

Lauren C’s top three from ALA: 1) everyone is still figuring out how to deal with the issues surrounding e-books 2) but editors want to hear about how patrons are using e-books instead of libraries solving the problems with them 3) and librarians (public and academic) are still talking about budget woes, but instead of eye-popping cuts, the talk this year is about sustaining collections and services with permanently smaller budgets. That’s my highest level view.

Here’s a little more detail, or the mid-level view:

In two different sessions I heard about experimentation with large-scale collaborative purchasing of e-books. In one meeting, our own ASERL initiative was one of the experiments discussed. We have a negotiated pricing model based on when multiple libraries purchase the same title in an ad hoc manner, so it is a little different from several others. No one (among librarians, publishers, aggregators) seems entirely satisfied at this point. I also heard about platform proliferation and the negative impact on the “user experience,” something Carol and I have been concerned about for years now. We’d all like for e-books to “just work” the same way that e-journals on different platforms “just work.”

Chris posted earlier in his NASIG report about a trend towards meeting user needs now, which matched things I heard in a session called “Transforming Collections.” Public library, small college library, and large ARL library perspectives were each represented. The overall message was to make decisions based on what is closest to home.

Here are other detailed snippets from that session that I found interesting:

Jamie Larue, Director, Douglas County Libraries in speaking about e-books:

  • The user experience is getting sacrificed to platform proliferation.
  • His library is not buying anymore e-books if their terms are not met. (LEC local note : One-user-at-a-time was disastrous last semester here with an assigned reading when many students were trying to do it simultaneously! At the June Admin Council we agreed to suppress NetLibrary e-books from the catalog.)
  • Need the EPUB standard to be used (LEC comment: a standard that Kindle doesn’t handle, but there are workarounds)

Bob Kieft, College Librarian at Occidental College:

  • He gave a shoutout to Emily Stambaugh amongst others as influencing his views on collection development.
  • Differences between small colleges and big universities but institutions are similar within their category.
  • No core curriculum anymore really and thus no core collection.
  • Colleges are slower to change (than universities).
  • Students clinging to print first. Librarians at colleges will store all they can as long as they can while awaiting culture change. Harder to remove old books than to fail to buy new ones. Users see the library as an archive/research collection.
  • Won’t mass digitize. Will sign onto Google Books when legal questions resolved. Also Hathi Trust.
  • Resource sharing is high. Purchasing decisions are based on the holdings of other libraries, without formal arrangements.
  • For students, collections is just _part_ of the purpose of the library — the library is there to help them succeed.

Bob Wolven, AUL, Columbia University:

  • Format obsolescence (VHS, LP, etc.) Replace some, forget some. Is PDF next? Science community uses hyperlinked text.
  • E -archives (e -versions of personal papers).
  • If everything were available on the web for free, then what would we collect? Who is responsible for open access collecting? Scale of collecting is immense. Right now only
    15-20% of e-journal titles are being preserved. How we collect commercially published electronic content is different because we’re not in control when we don’t own it. Archiving the web? If it is free people do not want to support it (like classic game theory).
  • Ultimately have to base actions on academic mission.

Here are just a few of the tips on writing offered by Faye Chadwell, Donald and Delpha Campbell University Librarian and OSU Press Director, Oregon State University) and by Lisa German, Dean for Collections, Information and Access Services, The Pennsylvania State University Libraries:

  • Remember to check author guidelines
  • Lit review is important to set context
  • Push back on copyright contract (easier if not on promotion/tenure track)
  • Must carve out weekly couple of hours for writing. Has to be sacred. (LEC: I think this has to be the hardest of these!)

I have more detailed notes on e-books, and I can elaborate more (over coffee?) if your interest is piqued!

 


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